Trauma Recovery: What You Need to Know About EMDR

Anxiety Counseling

When medical terms make their way into everyday usage, their meanings can get watered down. This must not happen with “trauma” — the word or the reality. According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event.”

The first key is to grasp how terrible such an event might be. It could be a natural disaster. The event might also be an accident or illness. Then again, it could possibly involve physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. In turn, the “emotional response” part is also terrible (see next section). Trauma is serious and trauma recovery is not to be taken lightly.

The Impact of Trauma

Another now-common term is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. It is the leading example of how trauma can impact your body and mind. And it’s become increasingly common, e.g.

  • About 3.5 percent of U.S. adults will be diagnosed with PTSD each year
  • Roughly one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime
  • Women are two times as likely as men to experience PTSD

Common symptoms include:

  • Invasive thoughts and nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Social isolation and withdrawal
  • Avoidance of anything related to the trauma
  • Memory loss
  • Dissociation, numbness
  • Sleeping and eating problems
  • Unexplained pain
  • Easily startled
  • Depression and/or anxiety

These and other symptoms can ruin a person’s life unless they seek treatment. One proven option is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a psychotherapeutic treatment. It is quite different from what you might expect or perhaps have experienced. EMDR is not talk therapy. Instead, it involves a rather unusual but highly successful method that occurs over a short series of sessions. The method employed involves eye and hand movements.

A client is asked to think of an image of a negative memory. Once they are locked into the image, the EMDR therapist directs them through some eye movements. As the client follows these directions, the therapist uses hand movements, tapping, and other stimulation. This approach brings about a state that is not unlike REM sleep. In this state, the client can finally process the traumatic memory. At that point, they can replace it with something more positive.

What You Need to Know About EMDR and Trauma Recovery

After reading that description, you can probably see why EMDR has become the preferred treatment for trauma and PTSD. Your brain wants to move toward a place of optimal mental health. This natural inclination can get blocked by a “terrible event.” You get stuck in a cycle of replaying the old trauma and fearing a new one.

EMDR is designed to remove that block so recovery is possible. The results speak for themselves. Here’s a sampling of what some studies found:

  • In combat veterans dealing with PTSD, 77 percent were free of symptoms after 12 EMDR sessions
  • After just three 90-minute sessions, 84-90 percent of single-trauma victims no longer have PTSD
  • After six 50-minute sessions, 100 percent of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were PTSD-free

Talk to an EMDR Therapist

EMDR is not talk-therapy and it does not involve being medicated. It has a long track record of results after as few as three sessions. Also, unlike medication, there are no known side effects. Regardless, you probably still need some answers. After all, it’s not easy to get the whole eye-and-hand movement thing.

Reach out. Let’s set up a free consultation. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions. I can share more information about trauma, EMDR, and related topics. You do not have to suffer in silence. You do not have to suffer without relief. Trauma recovery is possible and available with EMDR therapy.